Peek-a-Boo! They’re Watching You


Since I started teaching fitness classes with Jacksonville Stroller Strength, my daughter has begun mimicking my every workout move. The other day I heard her say something that sounded like “shldr ruls” and looked over only to find her rolling her shoulders backward just like I do during a warm up in class. A few days later she begged me to come into my room to watch her do side shuffles. My husband and I often ask her to do pushups and she quickly drops to the ground in a pretty good plank position and bends her elbows repeatedly like she’s going up and down. But my favorite is when she lines up in the dining room, sticks her arm straight up in the air and yells “reeedy go” before running through the kitchen and into the living room to the other end of the house. Jena and Isla

As I was trying to decide what to write for my Jacksonville Moms Blog debut, I couldn’t help but think about my daughter and her ever-watchful eye both during exercise and otherwise. It quickly dawned on me that as moms we have this great opportunity to help shape our kid’s lives and lead them down the right path. Beginning an exercise routine/active playtime is a path we should make for them. Just like feeding them fruits and vegetables, making sure they go to bed at a reasonable hour and reading to them help them thrive; so does a few minutes of daily exercise.

Studies have shown that children who exercise on a regular basis are more prone to have healthy weight, improved mood and attitude, increased sleep quality, lower risk of developing ADD or ADHD, better self-esteem and self-confidence, stronger socialization skills, lower risk of getting sick, better grades, improved muscle strength, better development of fine motor skills, lower blood pressure, lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and the list goes on.

But just like everything else your child learns that change starts with you! Like it or not, you are the example. So instead of showing them how to watch hours of television, why don’t we teach the positive impact exercise has on our health and life by being the example and working out in front of/with them. By doing so you’ll be creating what will hopefully become a positive habit for your children and a great workout for you too!

I know time is a valuable thing and each and every day we’re trying to put more and more into an already jam-packed schedule but I promise that showing your children the importance of exercise will long outweigh the 20 minutes it takes to do it. And it doesn’t have to be anything crazy, either. If Saturday mornings are reserved for family time, head outside or to the park and let your child chase you as you jog or sprint, grab a jump rope and jump for as long as you can and let your child try the same when you’re done, get down on your hands and knees or hands and toes and crank out some pushups and I guarantee your child will get down next to you and try to do the same. And if the weather isn’t cooperating you don’t even have to leave your house. While you probably don’t want to teach your kids to run in the house, you can still get in some cardio by doing side shuffles around the couch and adding jumping jacks in between the shuffles. Or lunge throughout the house as you pick up toys and put away clothes. Make it fun and soon they will be asking you if they can do side shuffles in your room.

A lot of fears and self-doubt come along with being a parent so whenever something comes along that can help improve your child’s health, you’ll take it, right? When I see Isla doing “shldr ruls,” pushups and sprints, I can’t help but feel that at the end of the day and after sifting through plenty of “should I’s” and “what ifs” I at least know that I am teaching her the importance of exercise, but even more so the importance of health. I don’t expect Isla to be an Olympian, a marathoner or a body builder, but I hope that by continuing to watch me exercise she will realize its importance and find a place for it in her everyday life. I encourage you to do the same.

Jena Pugh is a stay-at-home working mom, a wife to her adoring husband Paul, and mama to two spunky girls. She currently writes daily blogs for Entertainment Benefits Group, a travel company that sells discounted tickets to Orlando theme parks (, and Las Vegas ( shows and attractions. Her blogs include happenings in both Vegas and Orlando as well as celebrity sightings in Sin City. Jena also teaches group fitness classes with Jacksonville Stroller Strength and is certified as a nutrition coach.


  1. I agree Jena. My 8 year old daughter attends my bootcamps and “designs” workout moves of her own! She showed me a new move this morning and said “mommy, most of my moves involve doing squats.” Our kids emulate so much of what we do. Why not take advantage of that while they are little and set the example of being fit and healthy?

  2. Love this, Jena! From the age of 5, my daughter (now 28) started “teaching” aerobics and step class right along side of me. She could grape-vine with the best of us in her stars and stripes bathing suit and shorts ( her idea – no insistence – not mine!!). She has continued to love fitness and is now a very fit expectant mother due with our first granddaughter in September. Well Done, Jena! You are teaching your children well!


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